Monday, July 28, 2008

Hip-Hop for Good

Music is a powerful medium. Like most things, it is not inherently good or bad. Depending on one's agenda, music can uplift and inspire change, or degrade and tear down.

Ever since I popped in Jurassic 5's EP cd in my car, I have been addicted to hip-hop. Over the years I have learned that much of hip-hop, especially the mainstream hip-hop, avoids the opportunity to inspire and uplift. At best, it simply focuses on girls, cars, and money (not the best, huh?); and at worst demonstrates how music can tear down, degrade and offend. But dig a little deeper into the hip-hop scene and some good wholesome music can be found. Braille is an artist who believes in Christ, and that belief is apparent in each of his albums. One song he talks about learning from the past and starting anew. Another drives home the point time is precious, and we must make good use of it. One is basically him pleading to God to help him always recognize the ways in which he can better glorify Him. The chorus (from Everything Changed on the Box of Rhymes album):

"…if there’s darkness in my heart
please reveal it...
if I’m blind to your truth
help me see it...
if I’m numb to your love
help me feel it...
never lose the feelin’ never forget when...
everything changed.”

Another artist, Rhymefest, collaborated wtih Citizen Cope to do Bullet and a Target, which is one of my favorite songs. The song tells three different stories, all driving home a point. A Tribe Called Quest would occasionally mock some of the tough guy attitudes, which I believe they did to deter people from petty violence.

The most powerful hip-hop song that I have come across is Constance, by Mr. J. Medeiros. The lyrics carry a powerful message against pornography, and the music video helps drive the message home. If you take the time to watch it, pay close attention to the lyrics. It tells both sides of the story; how pornography ruins the lives of those exploited to produce the filth, and how the filth corrupts the lives of those that come across it.

(The video is in the post below.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree...I feel like hip hop gets a lot of well deserved criticism but on the other hand there are plenty of talented artists out there who are very capable of sending out a positive message. Just think what would happened if all the big artists that are out right now decided to just do a 180 turn and start makin music about things that are uplifting...i think that would have a huge impact on society because there are so many people, especially kids, who go along with what they listen to.